Rayka launched in San Diego on June 19 to do away with traditional travel-based reviews and give people something they can trust: recommendations from their friends and favorite social media influencers. The app uses visual recommendations to highlight all the best places to eat, drink and see within your community and the ones you visit.
“Many review platforms are focused on the main tourist sites, and they often leave out the local favorites,” said Mikayla Furlan, one of the app’s co-founders. “So instead of one-to-five star biased reviews, it's recommendations from people you can trust.”
While anyone can make a recommendation — and ones from your friends or people you’re following are curated into your feed — the app also features suggestions from “experts.” Indicated by their verification star, Rayka currently has 600 experts from 90 different countries that range from vegan foodies to budget travelers to other niche travel interests.
“They have to go through a process where we vet their recommendations,” Furlan said, adding: “They're what we would suggest as the most trusted users on the platform outside of the people that you know in your first-degree network.”
So what are people discovering in San Diego? Furlan said that since the app's launch, a few San Diegans have reported finding the elusive La Jolla secret swings and Devine Pastabilities, an Ocean Beach favorite known for its unique sub roll stuffed with pasta.
Founded by Landon Sanford and Sal Lavallo, the youngest American to visit every country in the world, Rayka chose to launch in San Diego because of its high rate of millennials and because it's one of the top travel destinations for foodies. Furlan says she hopes the app reminds millennials about how amazing their city is — something, she too forgets.
“We live in such a beautiful city and even on its gloomy days, you're still capable of going out and doing new things,” she said. "And we often forget that. I know I definitely forget that. I think that there's a ton of places on here that I didn't even know existed, and since doing a takeover in San Diego I've started to realize how many more amazing places there are.”
Rayka is a free app that’s available on both Apple and Android phones. For more information, visit rayka-app.com.